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Monday, November 9, 2009

ROAD TO SINGAPORE (1940)


This first of the Bing Crosby/Dorothy Lamour/Bob Hope ‘Road’ pics has a different vibe then the sequels. Oh, it’s filled with silly gags & goofy songs (plus a romantic number for Der Bingle), but the initial outing isn’t driven by the usual external forces (i.e. boys & Dot on the run from bad guys), instead, motivation is internal with Bing on the lam from a fiancé he doesn’t want to marry and Bob fleeing any & all commitments. They’re loyal only to each other . . . until the beauteous Dorothy sarongs in to show how nice domesticity could be. Under Victor Schertzinger’s genial megging, they even drop the constant joking for much of the third act to concentrate (quite nicely) on charm & sentiment. The film remains far less known than later entries, possibly due to a ‘near’ blackface scene when the boys go tropical to grab some chow, but even with modest tunes (mostly by its director!) and less wild humor (except for the heaven-sent lunacy of the great Jerry Colonna) , it’s a sweetie-pie of a pic.

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